Any reading of the Old Testament immediately confronts a significant “missional” problem: the OT is not “missional”. Chris Wright, however, argues that the great covenant moments of the OT have within them the missional theme. So today we look at chp 10 of The Mission of God, where Wright looks at the covenants with Noah, Abraham, Sinai/Moses, David, and the New Covenant.
First, with Noah: the covenant is to preserve the earth and humans, Eikons, are exhorted with this to continue their role to steward the earth (Gen 1; Gen 9).
Second, with Abraham: the covenant involved blessing the nations (Gen 12).
Third, with Sinai/Moses: this is the focus of this chp, and he lays out the themes of Israel as God’s priesthood to the nations (Exod 19:4-6), Israel experience the presence of God as a witness to its holy distinctiveness as a witness to the nations (Lev 26:11-13), and of a prognosis of the eventual inclusion of Gentiles (Deut 27–32).
Fourth, with David: here Wright delves into David as a king for all nations and how the early churches captured a universal promise in the fulfillment in Christ, the Son of David.
Fifth, with the New Covenant … and this leads to the New Testament teachings on the missional extension to Gentiles.
I wasn’t convinced of his understanding of “priesthood” as having a missional thrust, since I don’t see that priestly extension to others, but that specific point doesn’t overturn the big picture he here sketches. But there’s a lingering question that deserves asking: Does this missional reading of “covenant” imply either that most of Israel didn’t understand this or that Israel simply failed in its missional task? Or, is this a hermeneutical issue? Namely, do we learn to see the missional theme because of what we see in the Church?